The U.S. Department of the Treasury released on June 24 an updated frequently asked questions (FAQs) and fact sheet to support rapid deployment of emergency rental assistance (ERA) and prevent evictions. The revised FAQ offers additional clarity for grantees and makes several significant improvements to ensure ERA is distributed efficiently, effectively, and equitably.
Despite historic efforts by Congress, the administration, and state and local governments, far too many renters are struggling to access ERA programs due to ongoing roadblocks and new challenges. NLIHC urged the Biden administration to take immediate action to prevent evictions and outlined recommendations based on NLIHC’s ongoing tracking and analysis of more than 1,000 state and local rental assistance programs, including over 440 Treasury ERA programs. The White House adopted many of our recommendations, including extending the eviction moratorium, encouraging state courts to adopt anti-eviction diversion practices, activating a whole-of-government effort to raise awareness of ERA, and issuing new Treasury guidance to accelerate and broaden state and local delivery of funds.
Highlights of the new Treasury guidance include:
- Partnerships with courts: The new guidance strongly encourages grantees to partner with courts to actively prevent evictions and develop eviction diversion programs, as recommended by NLIHC. ERA funds can be used to help families at risk of eviction remain housed, including working with courts to connect tenants and their landlords with mediation and ERA resources, engaging housing-stability service providers for support, and working with court administrators to facilitate eviction diversion programs. Treasury’s ERA FAQ and FAQ on State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds makes clear both funding streams can be used to support a wide range of eviction-prevention and housing stability services (see Q36).
- Access to ERA for people experiencing homelessness: For families that do not have a current rental obligation–a requirement for ERA eligibility–Treasury encourages grantees to provide these households with a commitment letter specifying the amount of ERA the grantee will pay a landlord for a security deposit or rent if the landlord and household enter into a qualifying lease of at least six months. Grantees should connect these households with providers to help them identify housing that meets their needs (see Q35).
- Equal access for all households: Grantees should remove cultural and linguistic barriers to accessing aid by providing program information in multiple languages and conducting targeted outreach. The revised FAQ instructs grantees to provide, either directly or through partner organizations, culturally and linguistically relevant outreach and housing stability services to ensure equal access to ERA for all eligible households (see Q37).
- Encourages grantee coordination to reduce burdens and delays: Treasury encourages grantees providing services to overlapping or neighboring areas to develop consistent or complementary policies to avoid unnecessary confusion or burden for tenants or landlords seeking assistance (see Q33).
- Streamlines payments for utility providers and large landlords: The FAQ says grantees may establish information-sharing arrangements with utility providers and landlords for determining household eligibility. Additionally, grantees may establish procedures for combining ERA provided for multiple payments into a single “bulk” payment made to a utility provider or landlord (see Q39).
Read Treasury’s ERA fact sheet, “Treasury Announces Further Action to Support Housing Stability for Renters at Risk of Eviction,” at: https://bit.ly/3qoP28X
Read Treasury’s revised ERA FAQ at: https://bit.ly/3zXJgzK
Read a White House statement, “Biden-Harris Administration Announces Initiatives to Promote Housing Stability by Supporting Vulnerable Tenants and Preventing Foreclosures,” at: https://bit.ly/3h67Fu6